Has 2018 been a good year for electric vehicles? Well, there are a few ways to look at it.
On one hand, a breakthrough model like the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid emerged, along with a national ad campaign during the NBA Finals. That was a big step forward.
On the other hand, the landmark, affordable Tesla still hasn’t appeared. The Model 3s that did make it out of the factory have been troublesome, to say the least.
Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf got a major facelift and much more range for the 2018 model year without going above $30,000 for the base model. Over five days at the end of May, we got an idea what it’s like to live with Nissan’s new EV. Here’s what we learned driving the 2018 Leaf, which in many ways is the antidote to the Model 3.
Leaf performance got a significant upgrade.
Our last encounter with the Leaf involved a drive in the 30 kWh model from 2017. That Leaf sported 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. In the 2018 (40 kWh) model, the specs bump up to 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.
You notice every one of the 40 additional horses, especially as you zoom your way through multi-lane city traffic. In our brief runs on New York-area highways, the new Leaf had no trouble merging whatsoever.